US Marine helicopter missing in Nepal earthquake aid mission

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Nepal Rocked By 2nd Earthquake in a Month


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. military helicopter carrying six Marines and two Nepalese Army soldiers went missing during a mission in Nepal delivering aid to earthquake victims, U.S. defense officials said Tuesday, but so far there have been no indications that the aircraft crashed.

U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren said an Indian helicopter in the air nearby at the time heard radio chatter from the Marine aircraft about a possible fuel problem. He said the Huey, carrying tarps and rice, had dropped off supplies in one location and was en route to a second site when contact was lost. He said officials are hopeful that the aircraft is simply missing because there has been no smoke or other signs of a crash.

Navy Capt. Chris Sims says the Huey was conducting disaster relief operations near Charikot, Nepal, on Tuesday, around 9 a.m. EDT.

Warren said a Nepalese air brigade unit had seen the Huey, so Marines in V-22 Osprey aircraft searched near that last known location for about 90 minute but found nothing. Because it's now dark, members of the Nepalese Army are conducting the search on foot. Warren said they are moving toward the second aid location to see if the helicopter landed near there.

Because of the rugged mountainous terrain, the helicopter could have landed in a low area but the Marines may not be able to get a beacon or radio signal out, Warren said. He added that U.S. airborne para-rescue forces have rehearsed rescue missions, and are ready to go if needed.

The aircraft is part of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, and the incident is under investigation.

There are about 300 U.S. troops in Nepal assisting with the rescue mission, using a variety of aircraft including three Hueys, four Ospreys and several cargo planes.

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US Marine helicopter missing in Nepal earthquake aid mission
A helicopter waits to evacuate an injured elderly man at a Nepalese army base near Chautara, Nepal, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Nepal, just beginning to rebuild after a devastating April 25 earthquake, was hit by a magnitude-7.3 quake Tuesday. The May 12 quake battered Chautara, a foothills town that became a hub for rescuers and humanitarian aid after the first earthquake.(AP Photo/Bernat Amangue)
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - MAY 12: Military hand out water bottles to one of the new IDP camps following a second major earthquake May 12, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck in Nepal only two weeks after more than 8,000 people were killed in a devastating earthquake. The latest quake has struck near Mt Everest near the town of Namche Bazar. Tremors have been felt as far away as Bangladesh and Delhi. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images)
A Mexican rescue worker stands at the site of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
USAID rescue workers inspect the site of collapsed buildings after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A new earthquake Tuesday spread more fear and misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left thousands dead. (AP Photo/Bikram Rai)
People rest in a makeshift tent in an open space in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A new earthquake Tuesday spread more fear and misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left thousands dead. (AP Photo/Bernat Amangue)
A Nepalese family sleeps sheltered by plastic sheets in an open space after an earthquake hit the region earlier in the day, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A new earthquake Tuesday spread more fear and misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left thousands dead. (AP Photo/Bernat Amangue)
Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler speaks during a press meet in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, May 15, 2015. Nepalese rescuers on Friday found three bodies near the wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter, identified as UH-1 €œHuey, that disappeared earlier this week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation, and officials said it was unlikely there were any survivors from the crash. The helicopter was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
A Nepalese army chopper, that spotted the suspected wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter, lands at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, May 15, 2015. Nepalese rescuers on Friday found three bodies near the wreckage of the chopper that was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers. The U.S. Marines said they were sending their own rescue team to assess the wreckage and determine if it was the missing helicopter, the UH-1 "Huey." (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Nepalese army soldiers prepare to leave for a rescue mission to the site where the suspected wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter, that disappeared earlier this week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation, was spotted, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, May 15, 2015. Nepalese rescuers on Friday found three bodies near the wreckage of the chopper that was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers. The U.S. Marines said they were sending their own rescue team to assess the wreckage and determine if it was the missing helicopter, the UH-1 "Huey." (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Nepalese army soldiers prepare to leave for a rescue mission to the site where the suspected wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter, that disappeared earlier this week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation, was spotted, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, May 15, 2015. Nepalese rescuers on Friday found three bodies near the wreckage of the chopper that was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers. The U.S. Marines said they were sending their own rescue team to assess the wreckage and determine if it was the missing helicopter, the UH-1 "Huey." (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Nepalese army soldiers prepare to leave for a rescue mission to the site where the suspected wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter, that disappeared earlier this week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation, was spotted, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, May 15, 2015. Nepalese rescuers on Friday found three bodies near the wreckage of the chopper that was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese army soldiers. The U.S. Marines said they were sending their own rescue team to assess the wreckage and determine if it was the missing helicopter, the UH-1 "Huey." (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Nepalese people stand by the side of a street and watch damage caused by an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A new earthquake Tuesday spread more fear and misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left thousands dead. (AP Photo/Ranup Shrestha)
Sushmita Thapa, 3, and her father sleep on the ground level of a building in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A new earthquake Tuesday spread more fear and misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left thousands dead. (AP Photo/Bernat Amangue)
A family gathers on the ground level of their house to rest for the night in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A new earthquake Tuesday spread more fear and misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left thousands dead. (AP Photo/Bernat Amangue)
KATHMANDU - NEPAL - MAY 12: Police rescue teams in response following a further major earthquake on May 12, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck in Nepal only two weeks after more than 8,000 people were killed in a devastating earthquake. The latest quake has struck near Mt Everest near the town of Namche Bazar. Tremors have been felt as far away as Bangladesh and Delhi. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images)
An Indian widow (C) is comforted by relatives and friends after the death of her husband on the outskirts of Patna on May 12, 2015, after a new 7.3 earthquake and several powerful aftershocks hit neighbouring devastated Nepal. A new earthquake and powerful aftershocks killed dozens of people and brought fresh terror to a traumatised Nepal as buildings already damaged in a monster quake last month came tumbling down. Officials in Nepal said at least 36 people were killed while 17 people also died across the border in northern India, most in the state of Bihar. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indian widow (C) is comforted by relatives and friends after the death of her husband on the outskirts of Patna on May 12, 2015, after a new 7.3 earthquake and several powerful aftershocks hit neighbouring devastated Nepal. A new earthquake and powerful aftershocks killed dozens of people and brought fresh terror to a traumatised Nepal as buildings already damaged in a monster quake last month came tumbling down. Officials in Nepal said at least 36 people were killed while 17 people also died across the border in northern India, most in the state of Bihar. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue team officials search for survivors at a collapsed building in Kathmandu May 12, 2015, after an earthquake struck. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit has devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers stand beside buildings that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Ranup Shrestha)
US rescue team officials with a sniffer dog search for survivors at a collapsed house in Kathmandu May 12, 2015, after an earthquake struck. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit has devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
KATHMANDU - NEPAL - MAY 12: People bring their injured to a Police Hospital in Kathmandu following a further major earthquake on May 12, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck in Nepal only two weeks after more than 8,000 people were killed in a devastating earthquake. The latest quake has struck near Mt Everest near the town of Namche Bazar. Tremors have been felt as far away as Bangladesh and Delhi. (Photo by Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images)
A rescue worker stands beside buildings that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Ranup Shrestha)
A Nepalese victim of an earthquake rests at Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
A rescue worker inspects the site of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
A car is seen smashed under the weight of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Ranup Shrestha)
A Nepalese rescue team inspects the site of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik gives the final touches to a sand sculpture representing the latest Nepal earthquake at Puri Sea beach, some 65 kilometers from Bhubaneswar on May 12, 2015. A new 7.4-magnitude earthquake and powerful aftershocks killed dozens of people and brought fresh terror to a traumatised Nepal as buildings already damaged in a monster quake last month came tumbling down. AFP PHOTO/ASIT KUMAR (Photo credit should read ASIT KUMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A Mexican rescue worker stands at the site of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
A Nepalese victim of Tuesday's earthquake tries to sit up with the help of family members at Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Nepalese patients are carried out of a hospital building as a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hits the country, in Kathmandu on May 12, 2015. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people rush to safer areas as an earthquake hits Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake hit Nepal in a remote region near the Chinese border on Tuesday, less than three weeks after the country was ravaged by another deadly quake. (AP Photo/Bikram Rai)
Earthmovers remove debris from a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake hit Nepal in a remote region near the Chinese border on Tuesday, less than three weeks after the country was ravaged by another deadly quake. (AP Photo/Binaj Gurubacharya)
An Indian child is held by his father after receiving treatment at Siliguri Hospital in Siliguri on May 12, 2015, after falling during an earthquake. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet.AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people gather in an open area after a second earthquake hit them in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake hit a remote mountainous region of Nepal on Tuesday, triggering landslides and toppling buildings less than three weeks after the country was ravaged by another deadly quake. (AP Photo/Bikram Rai)
Indian hospital staff attend to a schoolgirl who fainted as a tremor struck at Siliguri Hospital in Siliguri on May 12, 2015. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet. AFP PHOTO/Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian college students write examination papers as they sit on an area of open ground at Siliguri College in Siliguri on May 12, 2015, following an earthquake. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet. AFP PHOTO / Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people stand in the streets as a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hits the country, in Kathmandu on May 12, 2015. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Traffic grinds to a halt after an earthquake hit Nepal in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake hit a remote mountainous region of Nepal on Tuesday, triggering landslides and toppling buildings less than three weeks after the country was ravaged by another deadly quake. (AP Photo/Bikram Rai)
An Indian patient is watched over by a relative as she receives treatment at Siliguri Hospital in Siliguri on May 12, 2015, following an earthquake. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet. AFP PHOTO/Diptendu DUTTA (Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
People wait outside a building after tremors struck New Delhi on May 12, 2015. A new earthquake of 7.3-magnitude and several powerful aftershocks hit devastated Nepal on May 12, killing at least four people and sending terrified residents running into the streets of the traumatised capital. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, and officials said it caused buildings to collapse in Chinese-controlled Tibet. AFP PHOTO /PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese patients lie on stretchers in an open area after being carried out of a hospital building as a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits the country, in Kathmandu on May 12, 2015. A 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit devastated Nepal, sending terrified residents running into the streets in the capital Kathmandu, according to witnesses and the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at 12:35pm local time in the Himalayan nation some 83 kilometres (52 miles) east of Kathmandu, more than two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed more than 8,000 people. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese people take refuge on a street after an earthquake hit Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake hit Nepal in a remote region near the Chinese border on Tuesday, less than three weeks after the country was ravaged by another deadly quake. (AP Photo/Bikram Rai)
Nepalese people gather in the middle of a road during an earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. Another major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest.(AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa)
Nepalese people gather in a temporary shelter after another earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa)
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